STICK TO THE PATHS!

My friend and I always used to say “stick to the paths! “This statement, said, in a joking way, but also with serious connotations, was to encourage one another not to go wayward! In those days, we used to play hard and work hard and party hard and it was easy, if we weren’t careful, to go too far in one direction or the other. We did go too far at times! And it is only upon reflection after reaching a point of breakdown that sticking to the paths became clear in its relevance and importance. Knowing to which path to stick, is another thing altogether. When we are in the middle of confusion, for example, when there are many paths crossing ours and we feel that there are several choices to take, the only path to stick to is being kind to the self. Stick to the path of kindness! In doing so we do ourselves a great justice. Giving ourselves a break when we need a break, allowing ourselves to make the choice that we really want to make, giving ourselves the space not to feel guilty for, or get caught up in any way by the expectations of others! That’s a big one!

Recently my partner and I moved from one country to another, neither our homeland. We moved without a plan as such, without people or a place to go to, without jobs to go to and basically took a leap of faith in landing and finding our way spontaneously. During this process, over nine months, we have lived in five different places before we found our now, long-term, apartment of our own. For a month at a time we rented shared accommodation for four months consecutively, packing and unpacking and moving to live with different strangers. For the next five months we lived in a shared apartment with four other people that we had met and knew just a little. So there were six of us in an apartment sharing one kitchen and one bathroom. Eventually we became 5 as space and politics, to put it politely, meant that one person had to leave. The group of people we shared with were half our age. Them all being in their 20’s and us being 46 and 49!  Each of them are absolutely lovely in their own right and all very different. So we find ourselves living with a group of people half our age, all very different in character and energy, and all, although crossing paths, each on their own very individual paths and at different stages of experience in life. It raised the question: How do we negotiate sticking to our path in the midst of sharing space? How do we honor our own needs in the midst of compromising everything that we are doing, or want to do, in a shared space? This I found very challenging and of course, I know they did too! It took nine months of networking, communicating, looking around and researching before we found our own apartment to move into just the two of us, my partner and I are in a new City, speaking a new language and know just a handful of people. We are here now, in our own place, still finding our feet and remaining open to all opportunities. We have the privacy of a couple again, our own space! Such a privilege! It is on reflection that I am considering  how we stick to our own path in the midst of, quite frankly, chaos and uncertainty!? 

It definitely wasn’t an easy journey that’s for sure! I had to meditate and to focus on my own well-being, to separate myself when needed and to challenge myself to co-operate and collaborate and share more of myself than I had for sometime. This raised questions for me about my character and capabilities. Am I a selfish person? This was said to me so many times during my teenage years. It is something to consider, navigating through multiple people’s energies whilst honouring our own flow. I am very pleased and empowered to say that I have reached the conclusion that I am not! I noticed within myself a very willing attitude to co-operate and collaborate, to share, to give, being generous as far as possible. However, I also noticed that I have very firm boundaries in place and when consideration is something that is not reciprocated. I do draw a line! I found that I encourage peace and although much more accustomed to my own living space, I was much more patient with other people than I ever knew before. I also found a resilience in sticking to my path, although at times I did have to compromise my space, my time and my energy to accommodate what other people were doing and with respect for myself and for them, I still maintained some autonomy. This is life, this is the world that we live in – a close up micro version of the world at large – and however tiring and challenging and uncomfortable it is at times, it is for us to commit to ourselves, to honour ourselves and to respect ourselves first – because if we don’t do that for us, nobody else will! In the end, peace and kindness are the ultimate paths to stick to, no matter what! 

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